Saint-Germain through to League Cup semifinals
By Andy Scott ,AFP Thursday, January 16, 2014, 12:10 am TWN
PARIS -- Paris Saint-Germain reached the semifinals of the French League Cup after an ultimately comfortable 3-1 victory away to Bordeaux on Tuesday evening.
Javier Pastore, Adrien Rabiot and Blaise Matuidi got the goals for the reigning Ligue 1 champions, while a strike from Andre Biyogo Poko had brought Bordeaux level in the second half at the Stade Chaban-Delmas.
It is the first time that PSG have reached the semifinals of any knockout competition since the Qatari takeover of the club in 2011 and the win keeps them on course for what would be an unprecedented domestic treble.
Matuidi said that the performance indicated they could achieve that.
"This evening there were a lot of players out there for us who haven't had a lot of playing time recently," he said.
"They didn't show it as they all played really well, which shows that we can be contenders in all the competitions.
"Our strength, is that we never doubt ourselves, we have huge confidence in ourselves but it isn't excessive, it is that which is good."
The victory was achieved despite coach Laurent Blanc's decision to rest several regular starters, including Thiago Motta, Matuidi and Edinson Cavani.
Brazilian center-back Marquinhos lined-up at right-back, while Zoumana Camara, Pastore and Jeremy Menez all came into the team as PSG sought to beat Bordeaux for the third time this season.
The capital club emerged victorious when the teams met in the season-opening Champions Trophy and then ran out commanding 2-0 winners in Bordeaux in the league in September.
Here, Zlatan Ibrahimovic — just back from claiming the Puskas Award for the best goal of the year at the FIFA gala in Zurich — had a 40th-minute effort disallowed for offside and then fired a free-kick just wide.
But the visitors still went into the interval a goal to the good after Pastore neatly converted a low ball across the area from Lucas.
Blanc, who won the League Cup with Bordeaux in 2009, sent on Cavani for Ibrahimovic at the interval but the hosts were back level just three minutes after the restart.
A Marco Verratti pass put Rabiot under pressure deep inside his own half and Poko pounced, dispossessing his opponent and then finishing past Salvatore Sirigu to restore parity.
Home 'keeper Cedric Carrasso then made a decisive double intervention, saving from Menez and turning Lucas Digne's follow-up onto the post, but Paris went back in front with six minutes remaining.
Pastore robbed Landry N'Guemo of possession in midfield and advanced before setting up Rabiot to convert the clinching goal.
Soon after, Pastore and Cavani combined to set up substitute Matuidi, who coolly finished past Carrasso, putting the final outcome beyond doubt.
The remaining three-quarterfinals will be played on Wednesday, with Nantes hosting Nice, second-tier Troyes facing Evian and Lyon playing host to Marseille, who won the League Cup three years running from 2010 to 2012.
MOST POPULAR OF THIS SECTION